We can all use great tips that make life easier, especially when it comes to new RVers. Buying an RV is very exciting and the anticipation of your first getaway will probably put your stomach in knots. You’ll want to make sure you’re ready to go with all the things you need. Check out these RVing tips that’ll help you prepare for your first big outing and hit the road with confidence.
Stocking the New RV
There are a lot of things you’ll need to make your RV feel like a comfortable home away from home. Start with the obvious, everyday items such as dishes, silverware, kitchen utensils, toiletries, bedding, and more. If you’ve never stayed overnight in an RV, it might be easy to overlook some items. Do a fun trial run before your trip by staying overnight in your new RV. Whether you do this in your driveway or at a nearby campground, you’ll get a good idea of what you’ll need with you on a daily basis.
If you don’t already have it, get RV insurance. Your regular car insurance doesn’t cover anything that is towed behind you, so you need to purchase RV insurance so that you’re covered in case anything happens to the RV or with the RV.
Utilize RV and camping specific apps to make your time on the road easier. These apps will help you find things like sanitation stations, campgrounds, cheap gas prices, and the best route to your destination. If you have a smart phone or tablet, download the apps before you leave on your trip. Most are free, but some do have a small cost.
From folding camping chairs and a Dutch oven to a tire pressure monitor and an emergency radio, our list of top 10 picks for most useful accessories to have while RVing will help ensure that you have some important camping necessities with you. You’ll quickly see just how valuable these things can be on the road.
When you’re shopping (or digging around the basement) for your dishes and all the other fun stuff for your RV, don’t forget that you will want to have a tool kit on hand. While you hope you never have to use it, it’s always good to be prepared. You’ll be thankful that you have a well-stocked RV tool kit on board if you get a flat tire or have a leaky slide out seal.
A first aid kit is a must! You’ll need things like bandages, antiseptic, ointment, gauze, medical tape, burn and blister ointment, aspirin and other pain relievers, eye drops, treatment for poisonous plants, tweezers, and other medical necessities. If you’re RVing with a pet, pack a separate first aid kit for them as well. Check out our first aid kit for pets blog that covers pet-specific needs from nose to tail.
Hoses are a very important part of your RV! Typically, the hoses that a new RV comes standard with are not of the highest quality, so it’s worth investing in ones that are of a better grade. You’ll want a long white hose for drinking water, a garden hose (in any other color than white) to flush your black and grey tanks, and a long sewer hose. Not all campgrounds or sanitation stations are set up perfectly, so you will need to be prepared with a long hose if you can’t get very close to the connection.
In addition to bringing along a long hose, also pack an extension cord. An extension cord will come in very handy when you arrive at a site that isn’t exactly in the best spot to plug in. You also never know what type of amperage the campground is going to offer, so pack the proper adapters so you can plug your RV into whatever is available.
Bring along a few gallons of purified water that you can use to replenish the water levels in your RV’s batteries. Never use tap water for this. Take good care of the batteries to make them last as long as possible. Also pack jumper cables just in case you need them.
Once you get your RV set up you want it to stay put. Wheel chocks and leveling blocks will be of great use here! Even if you have an automatic leveling system, you want to have blocks in place in the event you have a very uneven surface or you discover that you’re on soft ground. You don’t want your stabilizing jacks sinking into the dirt and throwing your RV off balance. Always chock the wheels so that the rig doesn’t start to roll around on you and end up somewhere you didn’t intend on being.
Invest in walkie talkies. These will come in very handy when you’re trying to park your RV. Walkie talkies make communication between the driver and parking helper easy and quiet (no shouting and yelling needed!). They also work much better than cell phones in dense areas, which makes staying in contact with kids and camping friends easy.
Living in an organized RV is much easier and a lot more fun than living in a cluttered one! When you’re dealing with a small space, every inch matters. Turn to Velcro to help you get things neat and tidy in a snap (or would that be a rip?).
Towing the RV
Towing an RV for the first time can be very intimidating! You need to ensure that your vehicle can handle the weight and that you know how to pull it! You’ll want to get in tons of practice before you head out for a long trip. Practice turning corners, backing up, pulling into tight spaces, and stopping at different speeds so you know what to expect. There are a lot of places that offer training courses for new RVers. A quick Google search can deliver this information.
Taking Care of the RV
To ensure that your RV lasts as long as it should, you want to take good care of it. While a travel trailer or fifth wheel doesn’t have an engine, it still needs regular maintenance. Pay close attention to your RV’s tires. Maintaining your tires will not only save you gas money, but it will help prevent things like blowouts and fires. Use a tire pressure monitor to make sure your tires are properly inflated. Also, pay special attention to your roof, including your vents and A/C unit, to make sure they stay in good working order.
Upkeep of the black tank is the least fun part of owning an RV, but it can’t be overlooked! If you ignore it, gross sewage and waste can build up in there, causing serious odors and a possible clog. Make sure you empty and flush your black tank regularly. And never leave the black tank valve open when not dumping! This will cause things to dry out and stick to the inside of the tank, making removal of it nearly impossible.
Winterize your rig is a very important step if you live in a cold climate and do not use your RV in the winter. If you do not winterize your RV, tanks and pipes will freeze and crack, batteries will drain, and tires will become dry rotted. Follow our 8 steps for winterizing your RV or take it to an RV service station where they can perform the service for you.
There are a few reasons that you may want to sanitize your water system. Maybe you used the wrong hose, or you just want to sanitize it after it’s been siting for the winter. It may seem like a daunting task, but it really isn’t too bad to do yourself if you follow our easy steps.
Uses for the RV
There are so many uses for your RV. Some just want a place they can stay when they camp on weekends and others plan to live in them full time. Remember that most RVs are now built to withstand cold weather so you can even use them for things like skiing and snowboarding and camping in the winter. If you plan to live in your RV full time, you might want to consider how you’re going to make a living. There are many options out there, so don’t think that you have to find a work-from-home job to do it! The most important thing to keep in mind is that an RV is supposed to be fun. Stay relaxed and take things as they come. You will probably run into some different situations but there are plenty of RV forums you can join where you can rely on other RVers to help you through things. You can find some great advice on these forums and most are free to join.